Passengers aboard a Lufthansa flight experienced a harrowing ordeal on Wednesday night when the plane encountered severe turbulence over Tennessee. The Airbus A330 was en route from Austin, Texas to Frankfurt, Germany, when it was diverted to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. Seven passengers were taken to local hospitals after the plane landed at Dulles.
The turbulence was described as “brief but severe” by Lufthansa in a statement to FOX Business. A photo shared on Twitter by a passenger’s husband showed debris scattered throughout the cabin, including trays and other items.
The FAA said in a statement that it will investigate the incident.
“Lufthansa Flight 469 diverted to Dulles International Airport and landed without incident around 9:10 p.m. local time after the crew reported encountering severe turbulence at 37,000 feet altitude over Tennessee,” the FAA said.
The husband of one of the passengers on the flight took to Twitter to share his account of what happened. According to him, lightning struck the plane and it fell 1,000 feet. He said that passengers who didn’t have their seat belts fastened were hurt the most.
“People who didn’t have the seat belts fastened got hurt mostly because it came as [a] surprise,” he wrote.
In response to the incident, Lufthansa ground staff at Dulles are attending to the well-being of passengers and rebooking them as necessary. The airline apologized for the inconvenience caused to passengers and emphasized that the safety and well-being of passengers and crew members is its top priority at all times.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority also responded to the incident, saying that after the plane landed at Dulles, “Authority personnel responded to the flight and transported seven people to local hospitals.”
The incident highlights the potential dangers of flying and the importance of following safety protocols, such as keeping seat belts fastened during the entire duration of the flight. The FAA and other aviation regulatory agencies will likely closely investigate the incident to determine its cause and identify any necessary safety improvements.